OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Last fall, Bishop Court Hill was used as a rabbit for his younger but more talented stablemate Flower Alley in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Saturday, Bishop Court Hill joined Flower Alley in the ranks of trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Eugene Melnyk's roster of Grade 1 winners.
Bishop Court Hill, under Jose Santos made all the pace and held off a late charge from Sir Greeley to win the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap by a neck over a sloppy Aqueduct main track. Sir Greeley was second by three-quarters of a length over the New York-bred Big Apple Daddy. It was four lengths back to the 2-1 favorite, Mass Media, who was followed by Happy Hunting and Call the Lord.
Silver Train, the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint winner, was scratched, as was Kazoo.
Santos sent Bishop Court Hill to the front, setting fractions of 22.13 and 44.95 seconds, and he held a 1 1/2-length lead after running six furlongs in 1:09.84. Sir Greeley, under Garrett Gomez, emerged from a pack of horses inside the final furlong, but his late rally fell short.
Bishop Court Hill, a 6-year-old gelded son of Holy Bull, covered seven furlongs in 1:23.27 and returned $18 to win.
"He's a horse that has always had a great deal of talent, and it has been a little frustrating from time to time," said Pletcher, who won last year's Carter with Forest Danger. "It was good to see him dig in gamely today and hold on for the win."
Bay Shore: Too Much Bling just too good
Too Much Bling continued his development into the nation's top 3-year-old sprinter as he took control of the $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes at the three-eighths pole and splashed his way to a nine-length victory over Songster in the Grade 3 race.
It was the third consecutive victory for Too Much Bling, who ran seven furlongs in 1:22.40 while being geared down by Garrett Gomez in the final 70 yards. Too Much Bling was winless in three stakes tries in New York as a 2-year-old, before winning the San Miguel and San Vicente at Santa Anita at 3.
"He was just so keen he wanted to run off," winning trainer Bob Baffert said. "I think a lot of it is maturity. We're just glad he's a fast son of a gun."
Too Much Bling came back with a cut on his right hind hoof, but Baffert said a patch that the colt normally wears came off because of the cold, wet weather.
Baffert said Too Much Bling would be kept in one-turn races, with the long-term goal being the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
"We're on the Lost in the Fog trail," Baffert said.